Val Kilmer Thinks Tom Cruise Has Wanted To Be ‘The Greatest Action Hero’ In Movie History Since ‘Top Gun’

Val Kilmer’s book, I’m Your Huckleberry: A Memoir, is out today, and in it, he discusses playing everyone from Jim Morrison in The Doors to (an extremely underrated) Batman in Batman Forever to Doc Holliday in Tombstone to Dieter Von Cunth in MacGruber, which I hope gets three chapters. At least three chapters. Kilmer’s had quite the career, beginning with his breakout role in 1986’s Top Gun, where he plays the Iceman to Tom Cruise’s Maverick. The Daily Beast published an excerpt from the memoir, where the actor discusses working with director Tony Scott and Cruise’s legendary work ethic.

After discussing how his “camp” of actors were the “party boys” who took over San Diego while shooting the film, Kilmer writes, “Tom refrained from our revelry, with good reason. From day one, he was laser-focused on a singular goal: to become the greatest action hero in the history of film. He was up nights learning lines; he spent every waking hour perfecting his stunts. His dedication was admirable.” Kilmer continued:

“Of course even more admirable is the fact that he achieved his goal. I also love that he’s a Mark Twain fan. Tom is a comrade I respect and admire, though as creatures we hail from galaxies far, far away from one another. My favorite moment between us was a small prank in which I gave him an extremely expensive bottle of champagne but placed it in the middle of a giant field and made him follow scavenger-hunt-style clues to find it. I hid behind a bleacher and watched him lug the giant crate to his motorcycle. He never did thank me for the Iceman-style bit. I thought it would break the ice, but I guess the ice was just right.”

Tom Cruise is the teacher’s pet, if the teacher’s pet climbed skyscrapers and clung onto airplanes and jumped from building to building for fun. Kilmer also revealed how Scott pitched the movie (which he was initially hesitant to do) to him: “It has to be you. It’s not the lead, but I’m going to make you feel like it is. And this kid we found, Tom Cruise, he has it, man, and you two together, and Kelly McGillis — you know her from Juilliard, she’s nine feet tall and utter perfection.” Top Gun was the highest-grossing movie of 1986 and spawned a sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which comes out on December 23.

(Via the Daily Beast)